Brenden Aaronson physicality concern raised as Leeds United loanee struggles to make mark in Berlin
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Aaronson departed Elland Road on loan after just one season this summer following the Whites’ relegation to the Championship, returning to continental Europe with UEFA Champions League debutants Union Berlin. The American has struggled to make his mark in the Bundesliga, having been named in manager Urs Fischer’s starting line-up on just three occasions so far this season.
United are hopeful the 22-year-old, who showed glimpses of his potential at Elland Road last term, can play regularly and perform well enough that his market value will return to its pre-Leeds high when he was part of an exciting young Red Bull Salzburg team.
Die Eisernen, who are competing in the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history this season, sit 13th in the Bundesliga and are yet to pick up a point in either of their European encounters, suggesting Aaronson’s individual struggles could be tied to the team’s poor collective performance.
"At the moment, not every player is at the point we would like them to be,” managing director Oliver Ruhnert explained following a recent defeat, mitigating for the team’s failings.
"Without looking for excuses - of course it's also partly because we don't have important players at the moment. That's why there is a lack of stability overall."
German newspaper MOZ (Märkische Oderzeitung) have ranked each of Union’s summer signings and awarded a score for their respective starts to the season, deeming Aaronson worthy of a five-out-of-ten.
"The US international was supposed to liven up the attack, especially in possession. Despite a good pre-season, Aaronson has not yet been able to fulfil this requirement because he still lacks physical robustness.
"His dribbling strength rarely resulted in a scoring threat. In addition, Aaronson showed considerable deficits in his goal scoring. He missed several goal chances,” the Leeds man’s appraisal reads.
Aaronson’s perceived physicality issues were a factor in his somewhat disappointing debut season in English football. Leeds supporters believed the US midfielder not to possess the requisite strength in possession to cope with stronger and fitter Premier League opponents than previously faced. According to Märkische Oderzeitung, Aaronson is experiencing similar difficulties in East Berlin.